Inspiration

Manila's Modern Swans: Smart, Sophisticated Young Women Out to Change the World

Meet three of Town&Country's Modern Swans, who round up the annual list of accomplished young women.
IMAGE DIX PEREZ
Comments

MARIANA ZOBEL DE AYALA ABOITIZ


After training within Ayala Corporation’s corporate strategy and real estate divisions, Mariana is in her first leadership role as general manager of Ayala Malls the 30th, the group’s first Ortigas-area commercial development. But she’s well-equipped to handle the challenge. The eldest daughter of Ayala Corporation CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and philanthropist Lizzie Eder, Mariana graduated from Harvard with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and took on a two-year banking stint at JP Morgan in New York before returning to Manila in 2013.

What keeps you busy at the moment?

Ayala Malls the 30th is a more intimate commercial center and a new format for Ayala Malls, so it’s been unique challenge to build a merchandising mix that attracts a wide range of consumers but also keeps our primary market of residents and families in the area happy.

What is your career goal?

The Ayala Group has done an amazing job of building multi-use communities, integrating arts and culture into spaces, and lifting the standards of “livability” for our cities, and I’d like to help continue that. Ayala has always looked to align its business goals with the development goals of the nation. I hope to contribute to that legacy, and in a small way, be able to support the growth of the nation.


What lessons have you learned from observing your family at work?

Among a very long list—that hard work, grit, and diligence trump all, including intelligence. By example, they have taught me the value of integrity, honesty, and transparency.

What causes are important to you?

I feel very strongly about the impact that a planned and applied reproductive health education policy could have on economic development. I’ve also had the chance to engage with FYLPRO, an organization that leverages the exposures, strengths, and thought leadership of young, successful Filipino Americans to serve needs in the Philippines. It has been a great opportunity to chip away at the “brain drain” and to leverage our incredible, but scattered, Filipino talent and minds globally towards the development of the country.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

MIA ARCENAS-BRANELLEC


Having grown up around her mom’s clothing manufacturing company in Cebu, Mia gravitated towards fashion design at an early age. “Her office was my after-school playground,” Mia says. “I would go there, play with beads, and make necklaces. It felt very natural for me to jump into it.” In 2010, after graduating summa cum laude at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Mia launched her own line of resortwear and accessories. These days she divides her time between her ateliers in Manila and Cebu.

What keeps you busy at the moment?

My team and I are producing collections for a few upcoming shows, including a spring/ summer 2018 collection at the Premiere Classe in Paris. I’m also designing for this month’s ICanServe “Why We Fight” fashion show. Because it’s a fundraising event for breast cancer awareness, the pieces will be soft, feminine, and in shades of pink.


Who has been your greatest influence?

My mom and I work together everywhere. She is both my best friend and my business partner. In her company, she is the president and I am the vice president, and vice-versa in my own business. I learned everything from her.

How do you hope your work will affect others?

I like to think that my clothes are not intimidating. You don’t have to be a size 0. Women from all ages, sizes, and nationalities can wear my clothes and feel comfortable in them. I wanted fashion to not be so serious—you don’t have to be anything in order to feel good about your appearance.

SOPHIE SAGUIL


After graduating with an English degree from Georgetown University in 2016, Sophie (who also happens to be a former T&C intern) joined Matte Projects, an up-and-coming boutique creative agency in New York. As an accounts manager, she helps build brand identities, crafts digital content, and oversees all moving parts of projects for the likes of Chanel, Balmain, Fendi, Jill Stuart, Dom Pérignon, and Adidas.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

What is your career goal?

I want to stay involved in the creative industry, whether in fashion, film, or further agency work. My ultimate goal is to create something of my own, though I’m still in the process of discovering exactly what I want that “something” to be.


Who has been your greatest influence?

Growing up, my parents always encouraged my brothers and me to combine our academic strengths with our interests, and determine how that could turn into a career. We were always taught that with hard work, we could go after anything we were passionate about. I consider myself lucky that they supported me in pursuing a career in a creative field.

How do you hope your work will affect others?

The work I do is fun, fast-paced, and incredibly rewarding. What I love most is seeing the final product, seeing the hard work of so many different teams come together to create something beautiful and artistic. I would love to be able to encourage more people to work in industries that truly excite them.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Manica C. Tiglao
View Other Articles From MANICA
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
Sotheby's brought a few of the French queen's jewels to the auction block.
 
Share
The musical reminds us to take some time off and indulge in something good for a change.
 
Share
From vaccinations to visas-and choosing where to stay-here's a primer for safari newbies.
 
Share
The 19-carat gem that once belonged to the Oppenheimer family sold for over $50 million.
 
Share
 
Share
The CEO of Evident Communications, an integrated marketing and public relations agency, talks about philanthropy and the bright future of digital technology and social media.
 
Share
A new book details Hughes' tendency to manipulate and deceive the women in his life.
 
Share
If it weren't for these revolutionary entrepreneurs, the world as we know it, would've been very different.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US